Source: The Matrix via Facebook
You’ve heard the hype surrounding virtual and augmented reality but now there’s another form of gaming to get to grips with. This is alternate reality gaming, otherwise known as ARG. It’s been around for a while but, as technology progresses, it is becoming way more advanced. By the sound of things, it could represent the future of immersive gaming. VR and AR have failed to make massive waves up to now but, with the help of ARGs, they could soon hit the big time.
Augmented reality games like Pokémon Go have had a huge impact on the gaming industry, and these titles seek to impose the virtual gaming world on reality. In the hugely popular offering from Niantic which has been downloaded over 650 million times, players were able to hunt for the strange monsters in real-world locations. Alternate reality gaming aims to go one step further than this, and actually denies that there’s a difference between the real world and the gaming world. You may be thinking that sounds crazy and dangerous, but the idea behind it could open up whole new ways of playing games in the future.
ARGs may have taken inspiration from The Matrix, the film in which Keanu Reeves has to be woken up from his false life in the virtual world to adventure out into the real world. In the classic 1999 sci-fi, Neo sees clues around him that his world may not be all that it seems, and decides to “go down the rabbit hole” to find out what is going on. With ARGs, there are similar themes, and most of the time games aren’t even announced. Instead, eagle-eyed gamers will spot things around them which give them information about a game. There are real-life puzzles where players have to find clues and work out where to go next. The games attract a lot of players whose shared knowledge can help all those involved solve puzzles.
With the emergence of alternate reality games, players have become even more curious than they were before in the search for new titles. They are now known to hunt through job listings and LinkedIn profiles to find clues. It has also led to game developers to get more creative as gaming communities have proven how capable they are at discovering evidence.
One well-known example of a recent game featuring ARG elements is Fortnite. In the lead up to the Epic Games title’s fifth season, the developers kicked off an ARG campaign which featured icons from the game showing up in real-world locations. For instance, the famous Durr Burger mascot was found on a beach in California. This idea of having a game’s narrative intertwined with reality helps create hype around a game and raise awareness of it. It also adds a whole new dimension to the experience.
Gaming doesn’t get much more immersive than when it uses real-world elements, and this is the exciting thing about ARGs. Because of the success of recent ARG campaigns, it seems likely that more developers will follow suit. The divide between the real and gaming world looks set to shrink further, and anything feels possible.